Having made his debut as a feature film director with "Parineeta", filmmaker Pradeep Sarkar gave women a strong representation on-screen -- much more than many of his contemporaries -- even before the wave of 'female-centric' films started in Bollywood. He says women are bringing change and shaping society for the better.
"I strongly believe that women are the ones who are shaping our society. Starting from our household decisions to bringing about a change in the country, they are the 'boss'. Women lead all of us when we are children when we are adults and they get much respect because they earn that," Sarkar told IANS in an interview.
Whether it is "Laaga Chunari Mein Daag" or "Mardaani", the National Award-winning director's tales are told from a woman's perspective.
"In our household, no matter what we do, no one is as efficient as women to run a house. They can run a house and an office with equal efficiency. For my children, even if I say 'yes' to any decision unless they get their mother's approval, they cannot take it to the next level.
"So there shouldn't be any doubt about the fact that women are strong, and they lead us, really," said the ad filmmaker turned film director.
His latest movie is "Helicopter Eela" , which revolves around the relationship between a single mother and her teenaged son.
"While in all my previous films, I celebrated the stronger side of women, in this one my protagonist Eela who is a strong woman unveils her vulnerable side. Yes, I believe every strong woman has a vulnerable and emotional side that they keep aside from the society. But in the journey of the film, Eela finds a balance of that," he said.
The character Eela, essayed by Kajol, looks quite quirky from the film's trailer.
Asked to share an insight into the character, Sarkar said: "I think I am quirky and that reflects in most of my films. I have a weird sense of humour. I can laugh at myself as most of the fat people can. I let that flow travel through the film and characters.
"Though in most of my films, I have tried to capture the city and focused on the scale in each frame, in 'Helicopter Eela', I have tried to capture the warmth of the mother-son relationship. So, this is a more intimate, happy and colourful film," said Sarkar.
While Kajol was his first choice to play the protagonist, was National Award-winning actor Riddhi Sen his only choice for the role of the son?
"Yes, he was the apt choice for the character. I worked with him three years ago in an ad film and then this was our second outing. Nothing has changed in him. He is still the same innocent, talented, strong-minded boy. Before finishing shooting for our film, he got the National Award. But he is still the humble budding star. I just hope his innocence remains untouched."
"Helicopter Eela" released on Friday.
(With inputs from agencies.)